Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

I’d love to have had a bike like this

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A bicycle with fat tires and a dark frame. No front sprocket, but a gearbox; no chain, but a toothed belt; no derailleur; disk brakes at the hub of each wheel.
The Priority 600

I just recently saw a post on Mastodon in which a guy was praising his bike for making hills easy — “13% grade at 50 miles.” I was curious, and ask I delved into the bike, a Priority 600, I became more and more impressed. I would love to have a copy of this bike.

I tend to like bikes that are unusual in a good way. I had a Moulton bicycle that I liked a lot. (I would get the Marathon today.) I came across it in the 1980s, when almost no bicycles had shock absorbers. Alexx Moulton was the guy who designed the suspension system for the Morris Minor, and when he set about to design a bicycle, he just assumed it should have a suspension system. He used a rubber system in the bike, as he had in the Morris Minor. 

He saw no need for large wheels, so the wheels are smaller than those for conventional bicycles, but with the gearing, there’s no drawback (and the smaller wheels are lighter). 

He also noted that energy is lost when the frame flexes, so he made the frame perfectly rigid, using struts. All the energy goes to the wheels, none to flexing the frame. And the frame’s rigidity makes the suspension especially important — without a suspension, any shock the frame encounters will be delivered directly to the saddle.

And he made it easy to take apart into two pieces so it can be readily transported. (It doesn’t fold, but it comes easily apart into two halves.)

That’s the spirit that makes me wish I had a Priority 600. 

Side view of a white Moulton bicycle: low frame, small wheels, a rack above the rear wheel with a pack on it. The bicycle is white.
The Moulton bike I once owned.

Written by Leisureguy

5 June 2023 at 5:22 pm

Spring awakens

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A map of Victoria BC Canada, showing the blooming sequnce by street. "Spring blossoms in the City of Victoria Dark pink usually bloom Feb-Mar, Light pink usually bloom Apr-May"
Trees along a city street just barely starting to bloom.

Back for a walk, still at 2 miles (36 minutes today). The effort required is clearly dropping. It’s a mild and sunny day, and some streets have trees really into blooming. My street — see photo at right — is one that comes into its own in April and some of May.

Very nice to see the back of winter.

Written by Leisureguy

21 March 2023 at 4:32 pm

Back to walking

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A map showing a walk route — rectangular around a strip of city blocks — with basic info: 2.06 mi, 36:17 time, 3.41 mph avg speed, 119 avg heart rate, 339 calories, 139 max heart rate.

The weather’s picked up — sunny and clear today, and warm enough to have the window fully open and to walk in shirt sleeves, bright enough to require a sun hat and sunglasses.

I’ve been out just a few days recently, but this is my first 2-mile day. I’ll stick with this a week and then extend it somewhat — 2.5 miles probably. I’m using Nordic walking poles, which provide some push: cadence is 110 steps per minute, average stride length is 32″. My usual stride length is about 30″, so the extra 2″ is doubtless due to the pole’s push.

Walking really has a noticeable impact on fasting blood glucose, and a good impact: it reduces it significantly. It also improves sleep, which is good.

After the walk, I had a snack of my fermented potatoes and hemp hearts. That finished one of the 1.5-liter jars, so I now have two empty jars and can start the next ferment. I’m going to make the Christmas ferment again. It was especially good.

Written by Leisureguy

18 March 2023 at 4:44 pm

The Game Changers is back on Netflix

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The Game Changers is a very watchable movie about the effects of a whole-food plant-based diet on athletic performance and one’s health in general — and now it is again available on Netflix. The Game Changers has its own website, which notes:

Presented by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Las recewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic, and Chris Paul — a revolutionary new film about meat, protein, and strength.

The site also has recipes for the foods seen in the movie.

Written by Leisureguy

8 March 2023 at 8:50 pm

Signs of Spring

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Spring is beginning to appear. The yellow flowers are from today, on a plant with holly-like leave; the walk is from yesterday, as I resume walking following a walk-free winter; and the purple and white flowers are from the day before. 

The Wife has a better camera (iPhone 14 Pro vs. my iPhone XS), and she also took a photo of the flower:

Yellow flowers and red buds above green leaves.

Written by Leisureguy

8 March 2023 at 6:52 pm

The Tyranny of Faux Self-Care

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Anne Helen Peterson writes at Culture Study:

I have a faux self-care origin story. It happened sometime cutting a vacation short to race to report on the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, then heading straight to report on the women who’d left the FLDS sect in Short Creek, Utah, and then writing about Armie Hammer and having trolls threaten to cut the throat of my dog, and then returning to Texas to follow the end days before the 2018 midterms. I came home, existentially exhausted and incapable of focus, scheduled a 60 minute massage and a facial, and thought: this will fix everything.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH, which is another way of saying, no, it so very much did not fix everything. The malaise I felt in the aftermath led to the piece on millennial burnout that launched my career in a very different direction. It took years to truly reflect, process, and alter my life in a way that would help me arrive at something like real self-care. But the experience, and my stubborn, nonsensical confidence that a MASSAGE would somehow rectify the situation, has stuck with me. I know where it came from (buy things, you’ll be fixed, is just classic capitalist marketing) but I don’t know that I’ve read or experienced an applicable antidote, other than my own strategy of figuring out how we got here.

It’s never unhelpful to look at the structures that influence our behavior. But also helpful = talking to/reading stuff by people whose job it is to guide people through this quagmire. Dr. Pooja Lakshmin is a psychiatrist and a physician, a frequent New York Times contributor, and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University, and her new book, Real Self-Care, acknowledges all of the structural bullshit — but is also prescriptive.

Pooja doesn’t shy from the fact that it’s a self-help book. It’s just a self-help book that, you know, understands the ways white supremacy, capitalism, and sexism affect our daily realities and options. Keep reading if this is something you don’t believe is actually possible — or, if you’re not interested in that, you might be interested in what it’s like to blow up your “perfect” life, as Pooja did in her mid-20s, and attempt to build it back in a way that feels intentional and very much her very own.

You can find Dr. Pooja Lakshmin on Instagram here, and find her website here. You can learn more about her joint newsletter centering women’s mental health here, and pre-order Real Self-Care here.

Can we first define “faux” self-care? I’m especially interested in thinking through how “faux” self-care springs from capitalist understandings of health and well-being, aka, if you just buy this, all your problems will be fixed. 

You can’t meditate your way out of a 40-hour work week with no childcare. Buying a new planner and signing up for a meditation class won’t change the fact that +30 million Americans are uninsured and that 25% of American’s don’t have paid sick days off work. So when I say faux self-care, what I am taking about are the products and tasks that are marketed to us as the solution for “women’s” problems. Self-care as it’s marketed is devoid of substance and incapable of truly nourishing us.

As I was writing Real Self-Care, I researched the origins of the term, and I found that there are essentially two lineages.  The first was the medical community: in the 1950s and 60’s, psychiatrists use the term self-care to describe the ways in which patients who were institutionalized on psychiatric units could exert control over their care with exercise or food choices. Nurses also talked about self-care in relation to compassion fatigue.

But the 1970s social justice movement is what really put self-care on the map. Audre Lorde’s famous words “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare” were a rallying cry for Black folks and Queers folks who were fighting for their rights. It is not an accident that we have Black Queer women thinkers to thank for crystallizing self-care as a political movement. It’s the most oppressed who so often do the heavy lifting when you live in an unjust and inequitable society.

So where do I take this as a psychiatrist? In 2023, #selfcare on social media is just an another word for commodified wellness, and our healthcare system has just totally broken down. That was the case long before the pandemic, especially for middle-class, lower middle-class, and low income folks, immigrants, basically anyone who is marginalized by our society. It’s so much more seductive to click buy on an IG ad for a beige branded vitamin pack that claims to fix your anxiety than to do the arduous work of trying to find a therapist who actually takes insurance and doesn’t have a waiting list (good luck).

Capitalism and white supremacy do a great job of keeping us on this hamster wheel, but the root of the problem is not, as I wrote for the New York Times, inside us. It’s not our fault we turn to Band-Aid solutions. From what I see in my clinical practice — and what I’ve lived myself — wellness “activities” end up as just one more task on the to do list to feel guilty about (if you can even afford them). They keep us looking outward — comparing ourselves with others or striving for a certain type of perfection.

So the perfect example is the patient who comes into my office (now, my Zoom room), and says, “Dr. Lakshmin, I’m not eating well, I’m not sleeping well, I know I’m burnt out, AND I feel like it’s my fault because I have this meditation app on my phone that I know I should be using!” I call this the tyranny of faux self-care.

It’s faux because it’s not sustainable, not self-directed. It’s faux because it exonerates the oppressive social structures that come from every direction and conspire with each other — patriarchy, white supremacy, toxic capitalism. It’s faux because it places the burden on the individual instead of calling for systems reform. This of course all comes back to race, class and privilege. Right now I’m reading Isabel Wilkerson’s masterpiece Caste, and as I think about access to self-care, real or faux, caste needs to be part of the conversation. The capacity to have the time and space to reflect, to think, to feel is a luxury that many women (and people) in America are not afforded. My book is one roadmap for finding your way there.

In your practice, how have you seen frustrations with self-care manifest? What makes so many of us resistant to the difficult, sustained work of care? (I’m thinking here about the very capitalist and American resistance to investing in long-term gains, but you could take this in so many directions)

Real self-care is about . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

22 February 2023 at 9:57 am

The First Studies on Vegetarian vs. Meat-Eating Athletes

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A very interesting blog post by Michael Greger, MD, raises the question of why athletes — who presumably are motivated to improve their performance — do not more frequently follow a vegetarian diet or, even better, a whole-food plant-based diet. Dr Greger writes:

Meat-eating athletes are put to the test against vegetarian athletes and even sedentary plant-eaters in feats of endurance.

“In 1896, the aptly named James Parsley led the Vegetarian Cycling Club to easy victory over two regular clubs. A week later, he won the most prestigious hill-climbing race in England….Other members of the club also turned in remarkable performances. Their competitors were having to eat crow with their beef.” Then, a Belgian researcher put it to the test in 1904 and found that those eating more plant-based reportedly lifted a weight 80 percent more times. (I couldn’t find the primary source in English, though.) I did find a famous series of experiments at Yale, published more than a century ago, on “the influence of flesh eating on endurance,” which I discuss in my video The First Studies on Vegetarian Athletes.

The Yale study compared 49 people: meat-eating athletes (mostly Yale students), vegetarian athletes, and sedentary vegetarians. “The experiment furnished a severe test of the claims of the flesh-abstainers.” And, “much to my surprise,” wrote the researcher, the results seemed to vindicate the vegetarians, suggesting that those eschewing meat “have far greater endurance than those who are accustomed to the ordinary American diet.”

As you can see at 1:12 in my video, the first endurance test measured how many continuous minutes the participants could hold out their arms horizontally: “flesh-eaters” versus “flesh-abstainers.” The meat-eating Yale athletes were able to keep their arms extended for about ten minutes on average. (It’s harder than it sounds. Give it a try!) The vegetarians did about five times better. The meat-eater maximum time was only half the vegetarian average. Only two meat-eaters hit 15 minutes, while more than two-thirds of the meat-avoiders did. None of the meat-eating athletes hit half an hour, while nearly half of the plant-eaters did. This included nine who exceeded an hour, four who exceeded two hours, and one participant who kept going for more than three hours. . .

Continue reading. At the links are charts that illustrate the findings.

Written by Leisureguy

16 February 2023 at 1:16 pm

Anti-COVID Secret Weapon

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Lisa Jhung describes in Medscape a way to protect yourself against Covid. She writes:

If your patients vowed to start exercising this year, here’s another incentive to help them stick to their guns: They could protect themselves from potentially devastating COVID-19 outcomes like hospitalization and even death.

The evidence is piling up that physical activity can lower the risk of getting very sick from COVID. The CDC, based on a systematic review of the evidence, has reported that “physical activity is associated with a decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, while inactivity increases that risk.” Other research has linked regular physical activity with a lower risk of infection, hospitalization, and death from COVID.

The latest such study, from Kaiser Permanente, suggests that exercise in almost any amount can cut the risk of severe or fatal COVID even among high-risk patients like those with hypertension or cardiovascular disease.

“We found that every level of physical activity provided some level of protection,” says lead study author Deborah Rohm Young, PhD, director of the Division of Behavioral Research for Kaiser’s Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation. “Even a 10-minute walk [per] week is associated with better COVID-19 outcomes.”

The best outcomes were seen among “those who are consistently meeting our national guidelines of greater than 150 minutes a week of at least brisk walking,” she says. That’s 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. However, “every bit is beneficial.”

Yet, 1 in 4 adults don’t get any physical activity outside of their jobs, according to the CDC. That matters as we move into January and COVID numbers trend up. As of press time, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

11 January 2023 at 6:25 am

Purpose and benefit of trekking poles

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I’m a big fan of Nordic walking poles, invented as a way for those who practice Nordic skiing (vs. alpine skiing) to stay in shape during the summer months. Thus the focus of Nordic walking poles is exercise. The poles engage the muscles of the upper body and increase cadence and stride length.

Trekking poles, in contrast, focus on balance and support, as described in this article in the Washington Post (no paywall). Montem makes good trekking poles, which sell at a good price because Montem sells direct to consumers, avoiding a markup (the same idea as Bulat knives, which I like a lot).

Montem also makes a Nordic walking pole, which they call “Nordic fitness poles.” However, the photos on the page at the link show that Montem intends for their poles to be used as trekking poles, not Nordic walking poles. The two people in the photo are using the poles with arms bent and poles in front. The ad copy also emphasizes “stability” and “support.” That’s how trekking poles are used but is totally wrong for Nordic walking poles.

Written by Leisureguy

6 November 2022 at 7:41 am

Walk check-in

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I’m still walking — quite regularly since 1 September. Here’s today’s walk, which was done at a cadence of 111 steps/min with 16 PAI earned. My rolling 7-day total PAI has been 100 or better since 21 September. (I got my new Amazfit GTS 4 Mini on 20 September. Prior to that I was using my Amazfit Band 5, which was not correctly detecting heart rate, so I was not getting PAI results that corresponded to effort expended. The problem may have been that I was wearing the Band 5 too close to my wrist, but in any event I’ve had to problem with the GTS 4 Mini.)

My average stride was 33″ — that’s the Nordic walking poles at work. My usual stride is 30″ — 6 steps to 5 yards, from marching band days — but the push of the pole stretches the stride (and also dials up the cadence).

The chart shows how my speed varies by mile. I assume the story is:

  • Mile 1 – getting warmed up – heart rate 118 bpm
  • Mile 2 – hitting my stride – heart rate 124 bpm
  • Mile 3 – getting tired – heart rate 115 bpm

It’s also worth nothing that mile 1 has a lot of uphill, more than miles 2 and 3, though mile 3 has some as well.

Written by Leisureguy

7 October 2022 at 2:51 pm

Good walk

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Now that I am walking longer and faster, the training effect has really taken hold. Today:

3.07 miles
52 minutes 10 seconds
3.54 mph
110 steps/minute
33″ stride (average)
5765 steps

My daily goal is 6000 steps, and 6000 steps in the walk alone would be nice, so I might after a while extend the length of the walk another quarter-mile or so. Or maybe extend the time, so that I do a 1-hour walk. It’s gotten pleasant now: good weather for walking, and I am fit enough now so that the walk is not a strain.

I do use Nordic walking poles, of course, which makes the walk more enjoyable and also a better exercise (since it becomes a full-body exercise, with the arms, shoulders, and upper back involved — plus using the poles improves my walking posture. The map and tracking info is from my Amazfit GTS 4 Mini.

Written by Leisureguy

29 September 2022 at 3:01 pm

The importance of duration in cardio/aerobic exercise

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I have learned (and blogged) that the key to a fitness program is purely consistency. If I walk daily, I will gradually increase both speed (important, as noted in this post) and duration, just because I have more energy and feel like it. 

I just remembered why duration is important. Ken Cooper MD talks in his book Aerobics about the training effect, which results in improved lung capacity, stronger diaphragm, stronger heart, greater volume of blood, increased density of the capillary network, and so on — all the systems that support the effort increase in strength and capacity.

He found that the training effect did not really kick until (a) your heart rate reaches the aerobic, and (b) you maintain that rate for about 15 minutes. At that point, the training effect starts to occur.

This means that going for a walk in which you get 15 minutes of aerobic exercise doesn’t do much good. And that is probably why my fitness seems to have started improving more rapidly when I went from a 26-minute walk (11 minutes of training effect) to a 36-minute walk (21 minutes of training effect) to (for the past two days) a 46-minute walk (31 minutes of training effect).

At any rate, I find that I am less tired now, after my 46 minute walk, than I was after my 26-minute walks. (Of course, I have now been training longer.)

But again: speed and duration come naturally so long as one walks consistently, which I take to be 6 days a week. (Cooper also emphasized the importance of at least one day off each week — his recommendation is to do aerobic exercise at least 4, and at most 6, days a week.)

Here is the patter of my exercise for this year (left chart) and this month (right chart).

Written by Leisureguy

24 September 2022 at 1:09 pm

Speeding Up Your Daily Walk Could Have Big Benefits

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Rachel Fairbank has an interesting article (gift link, no paywall) in the NY Times on the benefits of walking briskly vs. slowly. Let me preface her article with an observation regarding today’s walk.

Duration suggested in article: 30 minutes per day
Today’s walk: 46 min 48 sec

Brisk walk as defined in article: 80-100 steps per minute
Today’s walk: 110 steps per minute (That’s what I aim for in general.)

I also have seen a brisk walk defined as 3 mph or faster; today’s walk was 3.47 mph (or, to a single decimal place, 3.5 mph). Moreover, today’s walk was with Nordic walking poles, which provides a 20% increase in benefits over regular walking (without Nordic walking poles).

Today’s walk graphically:

With my new Amazfit GTS 4 Mini, the heart rate readings make much more sense, even in the distribution among the heart-rate zones. (PAI for today was 14 points.)

Fairbanks’s article begins:

Many of us regularly wear an activity tracker, which counts the number of steps we take in a day. Based on these numbers, it can be hard to make sense of what they might mean for our overall health. Is it just the overall number of steps in a day that matter, or does exercise intensity, such as going for a brisk walk or jog, make a difference?

In a new study, which looks at activity tracker data from 78,500 people, walking at a brisk pace for about 30 minutes a day led to a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia and death, compared with walking a similar number of steps but at a slower pace. These results were recently published in two papers in the journals JAMA Internal Medicine and JAMA Neurology.

For these studies, which included participants from UK Biobank, participants with an average age of 61 agreed to wear activity trackers for seven full days, including nights, at the beginning of the trial. This study represents the largest one to date that incorporates activity tracker data.

“Activity tracker data is going to be better than self-reported data,” said Dr. Michael Fredericson, a sports physician at Stanford University, who was not involved in the study. “We know that people’s ability to self-report is flawed,” often because people don’t accurately remember how much exercise they did in a day or week.

After collecting these data, researchers then tracked participant’s health outcomes, which included whether they developed heart disease, cancer, dementia or died during a period of six to eight years.

Researchers found that every 2,000 additional steps a day lowered the risk of premature death, heart disease and cancer by about 10 percent, up to about 10,000 steps per day. When it came to developing dementia, 9,800 steps per day was associated with a 50 percent reduced risk, with a risk reduction of 25 percent starting at about 3,800 steps per day. Above 10,000 steps a day, there just weren’t enough participants with that level of activity to determine whether there were additional benefits.

In the past, . . .

Continue reading. (gift link, no paywall) 


Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2022 at 4:15 pm

Nordic walking makes a big difference after just 3 weeks

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This post will be of particular interest to readers who have type 2 diabetes or know someone who has it. At right are what my Contour app shows after this morning’s fasting blood glucose reading. Just before I resumed daily Nordic walking on September 1, the averages were 6.2 right down the line: 7-day, 14-day, 30-day, and 90-day. 

The benefits of exercise — particularly aerobic/cardio exercise — in reducing fasting blood glucose levels cannot be denied, but I should also point out that I follow a whole-food plant-based diet and that I stop eating at 5:00pm. Absolutely no food goes into my mouth (i.e., not a bite or even a taste) after 5:00, though I do drink iced tea (hibiscus + white tea) in the evening. I also have cut out eating between meals during the day, and I think that helps as well. This abstaining from food part of the day is a version of intermittent fasting

Fasting after 5:00 make a big difference. I have found, for example, that if I have a snack at 8:00pm, that definitely raises my morning blood glucose reading.

The figures shown are in mmol/L, the usual measure, though the US uses mg/dL. To convert from mmol//L to mg/dL, multiply by 18.018. Thus 6.1 mmol/L = 110 mg/dL, and 5.7 mmol/L = 103 mg/dL. (My former average of 6.2 mmol/L is 112 mg/dL.)

I’d like to get my average down to 5.5 mmol/L (99 mg/dL). Maybe…

Written by Leisureguy

23 September 2022 at 7:28 am

My take on the Amazfit GTS 4 Mini

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I finally decided to replace my Amazfit Band 5 because it was unreliable in measuring heart rate, which it used to compute the PAI score for a workout. So I ordered what I believe is the most recent model, the Amazfit 4. It comes as either GTS 4 or GTR 4 and I pored over the specs to find the difference — until I finally realized “S” = square and “R” = round. Since I like a digital readout, the GTS 4 seemed the better choice (see photo, which illustrates the particular watch face I use). The GTS 4 comes in regular or “Mini,” and I went with Mini: cheaper and a little lighter and does all I could want. 

I love it. The readout is much more legible to my (somewhat poor) eyes, and because it is bigger, the battery also can be bigger, so much better battery life. And the heart-rate readout so far seems totally reasonable and reliable — as in fact the Band 5 readout become once I moved the band a little up my arm: two finger-widths above the wrist instead of one. But by the time I discovered that, I had already ordered the replacement, and I like the GTS 4 Mini a lot better.

I did try a Huawei Watch Fit 2, but I did not like that and returned it. I really like the Zepp app on my iPhone that connects with the Amazfit products.

I’ve done my walk for today, and getting good PAI results is motivating. I’ll stick with 2.0 miles for another week, and then I’m going to bump it up to 2.5 miles to get my step goal (6000 steps).

Written by Leisureguy

22 September 2022 at 12:52 pm

Walking progress — and Amazfit Band 5 discovery

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I would like to get my average speed back to where it was before the break: 3.5 mph. I’m getting there. 

The big discovery is how to get the Amazfit Band 5 to take more accurate readings of my heart rate. The original instructions said to place the Band 5 one finger-width above the wrist. That is the position where I got erratic readings. 

I got a note from Amazfit support that said to place the Band 5 two finger-widths above the wrist, and that is what I did today. Today my walk rate 37 PAI. Yesterday essentially the same walk (though 1.5 minutes slower) was 4 PAI.

Written by Leisureguy

20 September 2022 at 2:16 pm

New distance

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I’ve continued to walk, each day making a walk my main priority, and after reading an NPR report, I also go out after a meal for just a short walk.

I take my “real” walk after lunch (which I usually have around 1:00-1:30pm), and at the right you can see today’s after-lunch walk. (Click image to enlarge.)

This is my first 2-mile walk as I regain fitness after the layoff, so I thought it was worth a mention. Speed is still not yet up to 3.5mph, but that will come if I stick with a daily walk.

I’ll stick to the 2-mile distance for a couple of weeks before pushing it farther — that is, if I do go for more distance. 

It’s good to start to feel fitter for the walks. The daily walk is the key.

Written by Leisureguy

17 September 2022 at 3:47 pm

Restricted airways, scarred lung tissue found among vapers

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I confess I never understood the appeal of vaping, and an article in the Harvard Gazette by Diego Cervo makes their use downright repulsive. He writes:

Chronic use of e-cigarettes, commonly known as vaping, can result in small airway obstruction and asthma-like symptoms, according to researchers at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

In the first study to microscopically evaluate the pulmonary tissue of e-cigarette users for chronic disease, the team found in a small sample of patients fibrosis and damage in the small airways, similar to the chemical inhalation damage to the lungs typically seen in soldiers returning from overseas conflicts who had inhaled mustard or similar types of noxious gases. The study was published in New England Journal of Medicine Evidence.

“All four individuals we studied had injury localized to the same anatomic location within the lung, manifesting as small airway-centered fibrosis with constrictive bronchiolitis, which was attributed to vaping after thorough clinical evaluations excluded other possible causes,” says lead author Lida Hariri, an associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and a pathologist and physician investigator at MGH. “We also observed that when patients ceased vaping, they had a partial reversal of the condition over one to four years, though not complete due to residual scarring in the lung tissue.”

A huge increase in vaping, particularly among young adults and adolescents, has occurred in the United States, with studies showing about 9 percent of the population and nearly 28 percent of high school students are e-cigarette users. Unlike cigarette smoking, however, the long-term health risks of chronic vaping are largely unknown.

In order to determine the underlying pathophysiology of vaping-related symptoms, the MGH team examined a cohort of four patients, each with a three- to eight-year history of e-cigarette use and chronic lung disease. All patients underwent . . .

Continue reading.

It is not totally surprising that drawing smoke or chemical vapor deep into your lungs is not a good idea.

Written by Leisureguy

14 September 2022 at 10:29 am

Walk note

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I resumed regular walking on September 1, so today makes 9 days, and along the way I had my insight on the importance of a focus on simply taking the walk, letting speed and duration do what they want. Day 1 my speed was3.12 mph; today, 3.36 mph. Still not at the 3.5 I was getting before my enforced break, but I am confident that if I persist, speed will improve. And I think after another week I might extend the distance a bit.

More impressive than my speed improvement is the change in my fasting blood glucose. When I started, by averages were 6.2 mmol/L (112 mg/dL) throughout: 7-day, 14-day, 30-day, and 90-day. As you can see at the right, the averages are dropping. The 7-day average, 5.7 mmol/L, is equal to 103 mg/dL. 

I expect that, if I continue walking and stick to my regular whole-food plant-based diet, the 7-day average will drop some more.

Written by Leisureguy

9 September 2022 at 1:57 pm

Nordic walking effects on my fasting blood-glucose levels

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I resumed Nordic walking on 1 September (with a distance of 1.5 miles), so I have walked for 5 days. (Today’s walk will come later.) When I started, I took a screenshot of my fasting blood-glucose averages as of that day (photo at left). The figures shown are, as indicated, in mmol/L — 6.2 mmol/L, or 112 mg/dL, the latter being the common unit of measure used in the US. 

I have been following a whole-food plant-based diet, a diet that has been repeatedly demonstrated to be a healthful diet and one that is particularly helpful for treating — reversing and even curing — chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes. (See How Not To Die, by Michael Greger MD for more detailed information — that’s the book that got me started on my diet.)

But I had stopped exercising. I was interrupted by surgery (to install a pacemaker), which required me to take it easy for six weeks, particularly with my arms (so definitely no Nordic walking). However, on 1 September I received the FutureMe letter I had mailed a year ago, and I decided to tighten up on all fronts (details in this post).

For diet, that mainly meant absolutely no food after 5:00pm. (I had been having the occasional small snack — a few walnuts, for example, or a couple of Medjool dates, or a small portion of my Big Red One fermented vegetables.) I also started eating smaller portions and totally quit eating between meals. (I’ve lost 2.8 lbs since 1 September, but that’s a side effect, not the goal. My focus and goal is to adhere closely to a good WFPB diet with no eating between meals or after 5:00pm.)

And one big change I made on 1 September was to resume Nordic walking. I had the insight (discussed in this post) that the walk’s duration and speed were secondary — that I did not need to concern myself about those but could let them take care of themselves. My focus and primary concern was consistency — that I walk every day. 

If I walked daily, I would (without conscious effort) find myself walking faster and longer as I became fitter. I would not have to push myself to do that because I would gradually increase speed and distance because I was enjoying the walkMy conscious priority was simply to walk every day — the only “pushing” I did was to push myself out the door each day and start walking.

In fact, it’s been surprisingly easy. Once I was telling myself, “Today’s main priority is to take a walk,” I got to it and did the walk. Already I notice that the walks are e.getting easier and, without trying, I’m walking a little faster — 3.12 mph on 1 Sept, 3.31 mph on 5 Sept (yesterday) .On today’s walk, I could try to improve on that speed, but I won’t try. My focus is taking the walk and letting the speed take care of itself. I’ll walk as fast as I feel like walking. If my speed improves, well and good. If it doesn’t, that also is fine. The key is to take the walk.

Adhering to my diet and walking every day is benefiting my fasting blood-glucose levels. At the right you see my new average readings as of today. The average of the past 7 days is 5.7 mmol/L (103 mg/dL) — and this morning’s reading was 5.4 mmol/L (97 mg/dL), and that’s in the normal range. 

This is not exactly unexpected — lifestyle changes (such as quitting smoking, quitting alcohol, adopting a whole-food plant-based diet (or at least eating meat, fish, and dairy rarely and highly processed foods not at all), and exercising regularly are recommended precisely because they improve one’s health. That’s the whole point of the book How Not To Die, whose recommendations are solidly backed by research results (from studies identified in the books endnotes).

Still, I am pleased to see such rapid improvement — it’s not been even a week — and enormously pleased by the 5.4 mmol/L reading this morning.

Written by Leisureguy

6 September 2022 at 11:28 am

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